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I ran a 5000 m on the track on Saturday, and two days later, on Monday, I ran a 5 km road race. The results are almost the same (21:44 and 21:48), and I could push my body really hard in both cases, in warm weather no less. Doing races feels easy to me right now. I train every day, race at least once a week. It's all easy peasy.

Aside from my weight (75 kg, 1.74 m, BMI 24,8), which has to drop even further, does this mean I am currently in what one would call a "good running form"?

If not, how would I know when my performance is peaking and I should start thinking about taking it easier in a few weeks time to let my body recover from the hardships of training and racing?

Additional information: I've been actively training for more than 16 years, mostly to support my running habit. Since April 1st, except for weekly race days, I've been training daily, and racing between 5 and 15 km. Aside from the races (6 - 19 % of weekly distance), my training consists mainly of endurance runs (70 - 80%), with some interval training (10 - 15 %). My current weekly distance is around 80 km (50 mi).

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I think these are two different questions. The first "am I in good running form" is subjective and probably not the type of question we should ask here. The second is a very valid question and can be answered with more details. How long did you train to get to this point? Can you describe, briefly, how your training evolved to get to this point? –  ngramsky Jun 10 at 5:37
    
FYI I did ask the question as you suggested first, but the system complained about it being too subjective. After several attempts, only the current form was accepted without complaint. Apparently, they want questions to be subjective and personal. –  René Van Belzen Jun 11 at 8:06

2 Answers 2

Good running form is definitely subjective. That much is inescapable. I would really pose it as how do you feel after your runs? No one here can really say if your 5k time is "good". In general that seems to me like a reasonably in shape time but it is dependent on your weight, goals, and body type. Your training seems pretty standard. How I would see if I could train harder would be to increase the amount of speed and interval training you do leading up to a race and see how you feel during the race and if your time improves. Maybe switch to doing speed work every other day for a couple of weeks then a slower run the day before the race and seeing if your time improves. Also 80 km a week seems like a lot for 5k training. Maybe work in some shorter faster runs.

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I've been thinking about shorter runs, but my trainer said mid-distance track runners train rather differently from your typical road racers (like myself). My weekly distance is so high because of my ambition to run half marathons in the cool period. In this warmer period I'm working on reducing my body weight and increasing my running speed (VDOT). –  René Van Belzen Jun 12 at 8:48
    
@RenéVanBelzen - Your trainer is correct, as "mid distance" on the track is the 800m, 1500m, mile and possibly stretched to the steeplechase. That is much different training than road. –  JohnP Jun 12 at 14:39
    
@RenéVanBelzen I was a 3200m and 1600m runner and we did about 20-25 miles a week (32-40km) So I don't think you would need to do too much more for 5k and really if you want to test fitness speeding up should help –  inquisitiveIdiot Jun 12 at 14:43
    
@inquisitiveIdiot - His distance is fine for the 5k. Most high school x-country are doing about that much. 10k and up he would need to greatly increase his weekly mileage. –  JohnP Jun 12 at 14:44

As noted, "good running form" is subjective. Being in the 21:40 range for a 5k is nothing to sneeze at, as you are looking at slightly over a 7:00/mile pace which is not bad. Can it be improved? Maybe, and that is where the subjective comes in.

It is hard to say without seeing a typical week for you, but I would suspect that you are just kind of running without any real goal or plan.

There are a few things that I would recommend.

  1. Structure - Structure your runs. You should be getting in 2-3 short distance runs, 2-3 mid and 1 long run per week.
  2. In run speed work - By this I mean periods of the run where you increase to race pace for :30 seconds and then drop down to very easy for :30, repeat 5-10 times.
  3. Straight speed work - Mile or two warmup, 400's or 800's on the track for time. Should be faster (substantially faster if you can manage it) than your race pace. Couple mile warmdown. Do this only once, maybe twice in a hard week.
  4. Hills/terrain - Incorporate hill work, and run on different terrain such as dirt, sand, trails, running paths, etc.

The other thing is to pay attention to pace. Many time people derail themselves by going too easy on their hard days, and too hard on their easy days. MacMillan has an excellent running calculator that will show you training paces and other information based on current race times and where you want to get to.

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